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Trellis Materials Comparison

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Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  Blackrose on Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:34 pm

I'm trying to price out the materials for building trellises for 2 of my 4x4 SFGs. I'm wondering which of these materials would be the best to use for strength and durability. I have priced each and included what it would cost me to build 2 trellises.

"Ipex" Gray Electrical Conduit:
$25.78

Metal Electrical Conduit:
$49.35

T-Posts:
$39.80

PVC Schedule 40:
$35

Obviously, the most cost effective would be the Gray Electrical Conduit, but is it durable enough to last a few seasons? I know Mel mentioned in the book that he doesn't like using PVC or wood for trellises because they fall apart, so I'm conflicted because of the cost difference. I want my trellises to be strong and last a few years, so I'm guessing the metal is the best bet. But, I'm looking for opinions from all of you on what you use and how durable it has been for you.

Thank you my wonderful SFG friends! bear hug

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Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  sherryeo on Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:52 pm

Blackrose,

I don't have the answers, but look forward to reading the posts about this. My trellises are wooden and came built into the 2 boxes I have - pretty but I'm not sure how sturdy. My carpentry-challenged hubby decided to buy premade boxes instead of making them from scratch - pretty expensive, even though they were on sale. I hope to talk him and my sons into making homemade boxes when I increase the number of sfgs.

Does anybody know how to strengthen the wooden trellises that are attached to my premade boxes? Could you still use rebar like Mel suggests in the book, when talking about constructing your own trellis? How would you attach that to the trellis? They're about 4 foot tall, is that going to be tall enough or should I somehow extend them? Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  acara on Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:01 pm

I'll attempt to thin the herd .....

The PVC will require rebar or pipe reinforcement for large crops or anything over 4' height.

The e-conduit will last the weather, but again, heavy loads may require dropping in a length of rebar (but it's tougher than the sch 40 PVC).

The t-post are probably your prefered method, especially if they are PVC/plastic coated. The galv on the pipe is "only as good as it has to be" ..... might give you 2 years, might give ya 10 ....never know with e-galv pipe.

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  MasonGarden on Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:48 pm

Blackrose thanks SO much for asking this question. I was at Menards yesterday for an hour getting confused and trying to decide between the very choices that you listed (except I didn't run across the t-posts). Walked away empty handed after deciding that I needed to consult the great "Wizards of SFG" on this forum!
thinking

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  middlemamma on Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:29 pm

For what it's worth, since I have 2 trellises made out of the electrical conduit and they have made through one season only, I will be making 2 more of these this year. I did use rebar with the e-conduit. I used the netting suggested by the book as well. They are in very good shape...seem to be going to last me many more seasons. My only wish is that they were a little prettier...but I will error on the side of sturdy for now. Smile

Wish I had more years with them to actually be able to help ya BR. Sorry.

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  fiddleman on Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:39 pm

I prefer the look of wood, and since I have new boxes, I am still deciding which way to go with this myself. For an extra comparison... in my area 1''x3''x8' are a couple three bucks a piece and I figure I need 5-6 good ones to use so for under $20 I can have two trellis's (or is the plural form trelli? Smile ). Now I'll also need some screws, figure 3 dollars. (I am making my slanted cucumber trellis - otherwise it would be cheaper)

I have used trellis the last few years, and I feel if I hadn't removed them from the garden they would work this year too, but the wood is getting a bit dried out and this is probably the last year I could use them. If made out of 2x4's I figure 5 - 8 years before replacing them, for about the same cost.

No fancy woodworking skills needed, I tend just to use a handsaw when working with this short of a cut.

Just another option out there...

The electrical conduit, plastic pipe type, I don't care for (I have used it for other applications, and it has a lot of flexibility unless using the large sizes - not a good thing I think for a thing which will act like a sail when filled with plants). But other people have used it with good results... my tomato plants grow 6 - 8 feet tall, and that would be asking a lot of a piece of plastic piping.

The electrical conduit (metal type) is much stronger and can take more of a load, so if your plants grow tall and heavy like mine do, I would be more inclined toward the more robust option.

T-Posts are okay too - plenty strong and they'll last a good long time usually. I just hate digging stuff out of the ground if I want to move a trellis though. I don't care for the looks of T-posts, and until the plants overgrow them (to me), they're just a sore thumb; be sure you get them long enough if you use them... a lot of post needs to go into the ground (not an easy job if the soil is hard and rocky or clay-ee... is that a word?... or the dreaded tree roots which have a habit of being where ever I want to sink a fencepost. )

PVC... too floppy in my opinion... but others have used it without complaint. I figure if I can bend it that easily to make wagon hoops for the garden, it will wave like a luffing sail in the breeze when windy. Plus it gets floppier the warmer it gets.

So for me, the choice is between metal conduit and wood... each is about as easy to put up in my opinion and each is strong enough to support whatever I should choose from year to year to put on the trellis. I might want to move the trellis to a different box or even try Watermelon where I have the tomatoes next year... who knows?

Mark

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  Blackrose on Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:19 pm

Thanks for the great responses! I was leaning toward the metal conduit, but I think the scale just got tipped further in that direction. I know it's the most expensive of my options, but I want something that will last a couple of years at least.

acara: Thank you! The T-posts that I saw were not PVC covered. They were painted. I don't know if that makes any difference.

Mark: Thanks for the information. I never even considered wood to be honest. Laughing

I think I will go with the metal conduit. Luckily my DH works in construction and can get some rebar scraps for FREE! Very Happy

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  Patty from Yorktown on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:09 pm

I have metal conduit trellis with the nets. I think the corners were the most pricey part of the project. I have 2 bean tepees made from free bamboo. Every once and awhile I replace the rope. They work great. Yet another option.

Patty from Yorktown

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  vinny09 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:27 pm

@Patty from Yorktown wrote:I think the corners were the most pricey part of the project.
Patty from Yorktown

You're right, the 90 degree connector pieces are almost $4 each (at least near me). The inline connectors are much cheaper, so what I did for my electric conduit trellises is bend two 10' conduits 90degrees and connect them with an inline connector you'll only need 1 instead of 2 when you use 90degree connectors). I bent mine to stand 5' and had to cut off some from each to get a total width of 4'. I probably could've bent them to stand about 7' and just had a slightly wider than 4' trellis. Anyway, I've used these for tomatoes and butternut squash with no issues. I would think larger items like watermelons or pumpkins would benefit from using 90degree connectors so the crossbar is less likely to sag.

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  Blackrose on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:33 pm

@vinny09 wrote:You're right, the 90 degree connector pieces are almost $4 each (at least near me). The inline connectors are much cheaper, so what I did for my electric conduit trellises is bend two 10' conduits 90degrees and connect them with an inline connector you'll only need 1 instead of 2 when you use 90degree connectors). I bent mine to stand 5' and had to cut off some from each to get a total width of 4'. I probably could've bent them to stand about 7' and just had a slightly wider than 4' trellis. Anyway, I've used these for tomatoes and butternut squash with no issues. I would think larger items like watermelons or pumpkins would benefit from using 90degree connectors so the crossbar is less likely to sag.

Can you please tell me the difference between 90 degree connectors and inline connectors?

Here is what I see on Home Depot Canada:
1/2 In. EMT Corner Pull Elbow

1/2 In. 90 Degree EMT Elbow

Or this:
1/2 In. Pull Elbow EMT To EMT

I really have no idea which one to use.

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Re: Trellis Materials Comparison

Post  vinny09 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:09 pm

@Blackrose wrote:Can you please tell me the difference between 90 degree connectors and inline connectors? I really have no idea which one to use.

Here's what I was talking about. Linky
$1.23 for a 5 pack vs $4+ per 90 degree elbow.

In the past, I've found nice employees (and a couple who wouldn't) there who will bend the conduit for me to my desired height (They know what they're doing and I didn't want to buy a $40 conduit bender). I've built 4 trellises this way (ie bend two 10' conduit into L-shapes, saw off what I don't need, use one of these couplers (so that's what they're called!) and voila!)

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